The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) on Friday flagged off the second phase of its ‘Operation Free the Port Corridors’ programme set up to rid the nation’s port and ports corridors of Inefficiencies and corrupt practices in order to enhance the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business mandate.
The Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the NSC, Hon. Emmanuel Jime, at a media briefing of the Enlarged Presidential Port Standing Task Team (PSTT), said the operation would cover the Apapa-Tin-Can–Coconut– Berger Yard -Mile 2–Orile–Ijora axis, representing a 15.6km stretch of roads that is littered with shanties and trucks parked indiscriminately.
Speaking during the flagging off, Hon. Jime stated that “Permit me to re-emphasise that “Operation Free the Ports’ Corridors” is essentially aimed at ridding the ports and Ports’ Corridors of inefficiencies and corrupt practices. It is one of a series of activities of the task team since its inception in March 2021.
“The team began its activities at Joint Boarding of vessels operations where they ensured adherence to the provisions of the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM). “Following the success of the first phase, they moved to the Terminals to ensure a new culture of Joint Cargo Examination in compliance with the NPPM in order to foster global best practices.”
He however reiterated his appeal to groups that still nurse reservations to kindly see reasons and cooperate to ensure that the ports corridors are free for ease of movement and conduct of businesses.
He added that in the face of logistics and operational challenges, the task team has admirably achieved its objectives, stressing that the success recorded was not without dire consequences including stern resistance, intimidation, a threat to lives and physical assault of operatives, gadgets and vehicles.
Flagging off the initiative earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr Magdalene Ajani who was represented by a Deputy Director in the Ministry, Mr Adams Ofie, said the Ministry is aware of the major challenges of the Enlarged (PSTT) due to the inadequate logistics and operational needs for a more robust and effective mandate.
According to him, the task team is currently receiving attention in the ministry for possible intervention and facilitation on its logistics and operational needs in order to help a seamless implementation of the PSTT mandate.
He said the purpose of flagging off the programme is to solicit support from the agencies such as the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), NSC and NIMASA, for them to synergize with relevant security agencies in order to ensure how best to enforce compliance
The National Coordinator, PSTT, Moses Fadipe, said many industry players, observers and commentators have acknowledged that its bold step to rid the ports’ corridors of illegal checkpoints and other forms of corrupt practices have yielded tremendous success. “This is most evident in the sanity established in the movement of traffic in the outbound route of Apapa Port gate to Ijora. This route which is a distance of about 2.6km was the focus of the task team during the first phase of operations,” he said.
He added: “These widely acknowledged successes were achieved but not without challenges. The major challenges were inadequate logistics and manpower. There were also hazardous encounters where personnel of the task team were assaulted and even held hostage on one occasion. In all of these, we remained upbeat as we were able to brace the storm.”
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